One has to suppose a man would do – this being an age of employment gender equality – but a chap with delicate size 4s might be harder to find. No offence intended.

The Queen needs someone to break in her new shoes, or so it’s reported. By all accounts she already has a breaker-inner but you know how it is – succession management and all that – someone needs to be ready to take over should the position become unexpectedly vacant.

It’s a bit like having an heir and a spare. One never knows when one will need to make a smooth but sudden handover. Or footover.

This having been a right royal week in these parts, with Prince Charles’s jolly visit to Cumbria bringing out crowds with flags and phones for obligatory selfies, some smaller matters of the everyday routines and onerous requirements of modern monarchy were bound to spring to mind.

It might have been a small-minded observation (expect nothing else from my tiny mind) but I do believe HRH was wearing a smart new overcoat when he made the latest of many trips to his favourite northern spot.

I couldn’t be happier for him. The one he’s been wearing for the last several decades was beginning to look a little – well, jaded. Sorry sir but I’m sure Camilla would agree.

Anne Pickles A tip for job-hunters though, should you be looking for some part-time work to earn a bit on the side, employment as the Prince of Wales’s coat breaker-inner may not be especially lucrative. Next required in 2047 at a guess.

Unless you are to double up as his toothpaste squeezer, it perhaps wouldn’t be worth your while.

His mum, on the other hand, probably requires someone prepared for more frequently regular duties. Women, whatever their status, need lots of shoes. What they do not need is crippling corns, mid-walkabout. A breaker-inner is a splendid idea… for anyone.

Seemingly the successful candidate for the job will spend time strolling the corridors of Buckingham Palace, climbing stairs, moving effortlessly across lawns and walking backwards – as is the norm on wreath-laying occasions.

Makes sense. Makes you wonder about the nature of work these days too. When employment figures are published, the mind – correction, my tiny one – flits instantly to office and factory jobs, public sector roles, bus driving, serving in shops and cafes. In other words, what used to be stereotypically honest toil, when Prince Charles bought that threadbare old coat he just sent to the charity shop and miners grafted at the coalface.

It’s all different now. The world of work has many faces, umpteen nuances. Nothing can be ruled out; everything and anything ruled in.

Imagine being asked at a function or in casual conversation at the bus stop: “And what do you do for a living?”

“I break in Her Majesty’s new shoes.”

“Are you part of team?”

“No. Sole operative.”

“Wow, that’s a hot position.”


There’s definitely some prestige in that line of work. A certain je ne sais quoi in being able to boast with nonchalance that you walk in the sovereign’s footsteps… before she does.

I might have considered it myself as, you know, something different to do on those down days when you can’t be bothered with housework.

Well, it would be an ideal plan for getting out of the house – and into the palace – and presumably there’s training involved. Lifelong learning is one of my things. It’s my firm belief that you can never have too many strings to your skills set bow.

Sadly my feet are too big and I’d probably want to apply exclusively for slipper duties – breaking-in wise. Unfortunately they don’t make an appearance on the job spec. The Queen probably breaks in her own slippers. An austerity measure, no doubt.

But if the opportunity floats your boat and your tootsies are appropriately fragrant, go for it. Knock nothing, other than Charles’s coat testing, until you’ve tried it.

Fill your boots… and hers.